Assignment on Analyzing Audience of Professional Documents

This assignment calls upon you to analyze the audience and other writing constraints of a professional document. To answer these questions, consult Chapter 1 in The Craft of Scientific Writing.

  1. Identify a position that you would want to hold next year. For instance, you might apply for an entry-level position at a company such as Ingersoll-Rand, a co-operative position at an institution such as Sandia National Laboratories, or a graduate research assistantship under a faculty member such as Professor Kasarda at Virginia Tech.

  2. Assume that you have to write a letter and résumé to obtain this position. Following the discussion on pages 3-6 in The Craft of Scientific Writing, analyze the audience for this job letter and résumé. Answer the four questions that are listed at the bottom of page 5.

  3. Following the discussion on pages 6-9, analyze the other constraints of format, mechanics, and politics for this job letter and résumé. Questions to consider might be which typeface (page 222) would be appropriate to use for the letter, how important that proofreading would be in this situation, and what would be the political advantages and disadvantages of specifying, in detail, the objective line of your résumé.

  4. Draft and attach your letter and résumé (suggested maximum length for letter, one page; suggested maximum length for résumé, one page). For references and examples of job letters and résumés, see the job letter and résumé link at the "Writing Guidelines for Engineering Students" (

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